The Throne Of God [Lesson 10.9]

23 Aug

Have you ever wondered what the throne of God looks like? Do you imagine a great big chair all decorated with gold and jewels? In Revelations, we get a good description of the throne of God.

2At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it.

The central object of heaven is the throne of God, referred to eight times in 4:1-6 and eighteen times altogether in chapters 4-5. It seems to be a fixed point, with everything else in heaven located in relationship to it. The remainder of chapter 4 conveys to us seven distinct characteristics of the throne of God.

  1. The Triune God
    • Verse 2-3 indicate all three members of the triune God.
    • Christ in His priestly role.
  2. The Twenty-Four elders
    • 24 thrones around God’s throne
    • Most believe the 24 are human brought up in the rapture to represent the total priesthood.
    • Some believe them to be the 12 patriarchs of the Old Testiment and the 12 apostles
  3. The Signs of Judgment
    • lightning
    • rumblings
    • peals of thunder
  4. The Seven Spirits of God
    • the Spirit of the Lord
    • the Spirit of wisdom
    • the Spirit of understanding
    • the Spirit of counsel
    • the Spirit of power
    • the Spirit of knowledge
    • the Spirit of the fear of the Lord
  5. The Sea of Glass
    • Two suggestions on what it represents.
      1. the Church at rest
      2. the Word of God
  6. The Four Living Creatures
    • Seraphim (Isa. 6:1-3)
    • Six wings and cry, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty”
    • Four Forms
      1. A lion – leader of the kingdom of wild animals.
      2. A calf – leader of domestic animals.
      3. A man – leader of the angelic hosts responsible for the human race
      4. A flying eagle – leader of the kingdom of the fowls of the air.
  7. The Heavenly Worship of Christ
    • The Lord Jesus Christ is the object of worship in heaven
    • Celestial beings sing songs of glory and honor to God because He is the Creator of all things.

What a wonderful picture. And to think, when we are taken up to be with Jesus, we will see it all, live and in living color.
That just blows my mind!

Starin’ At The Sky [Lesson 10.8]

17 Aug

Ok you win, you caught me day dreaming again
About our sudden evacuation
Ok I give in, I can’t help but wandering
But it seems I can’t get enough information

Curiosity has got a hold of me
Tell me how it’s gonna be – when
One day I’ll see you coming back for me
And all together we’ll fly away
One day I’ll hear that trumpet loud and clear
And all together we’ll fly away
O how I long for the day
When we fly away

Don’t ask me why I keep starin’ at the sky
It’s just I’m lost in anticipation
I know it will be in the twinkling of an eye
It’s just I get lost in my imagination

(lyrics to Fly Away by FFH | Windows Audio Clip )

I love the words to the song Fly Away by FFH.  I can relate!  Sometimes I get thinking about Jesus coming back and what it will be like, that I end up wasting time right now!  I need to be telling somebody about this!

So, where would I find the most detailed description of the Rapture of the Church?  Revelations?  Nope! 

Paul was in Thessalonica for only a few weeks before a few irate Jews drove him out of town.  While he was there, he taught the church that Christ would come and rapture Christians out of this world to be with Him.  After Paul left, some members had died and consequently the young Christians were perplexed about the status of their dead Christian members. So, the church wrote Paul a letter requesting an explanation.  First Thessalonians is Paul’s answer to them.  Note 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 carefully,

The Coming of the Lord

    13Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18Therefore encourage each other with these words.


There, I feel better. I can go back to day dreaming again!

Beam Me Up Jesus! [Lesson 10.7]

16 Aug

[note: This commentary is to be used as a seed for a discussion on the events as written in Revelations. I don’t claim to be an expert! If you want to talk to an expert on end times, ask God.]

When we talk about the end times, we sometimes refer to it as Christ’s second coming.  There are two parts of Revelations that talk about Jesus coming to earth. The first is when He comes and raptures his followers into the sky to be with him.  The next time is when He comes to set up his kingdom on earth.  So which is the second coming?  The answer is both of them.  In his book, Revelation Unveiled, Tim LaHaye says that "there is only one "Second Coming," but it occurs in two phases. The first phase is only for His church, that is, all living and dead believers since the church was founded in A.D. 33.  The second phase is for all those living on the earth at the end of the Tribulation.  In studying the passages that speak about Jesus coming again, he identified 15 different contrasting events that describe the two phases of our Lord’s coming. 

15 Contrasting Events Of The Second Coming


Glorious Appearing

1. Christ comes in air for His own 1. Christ comes with His own to earth
2. Rapture / translation of all Christians 2. No one translated
3. Christians taken to the Father’s House 3. Resurrected saints do not see Father’s House
4. No judgment on earth at Rapture 4. Christ judges inhabitants of earth
5. Church taken to Heaven at Rapture 5. Christ sets up His kingdom on earth
6. Rapture imminent / could happen any moment. 6. Glorious appearing cannot occur for at least 7 years
7. No signs for Rapture 7. Many signs for Christ’s physical coming
8. For believers only 8. Affects all humanity
9. Time of joy 9. Time of mourning
10. Before the Day of Wrath (Tribulation) 10. Immediately after Tribulation (Matthew 24)
11. No mention of Satan 11. Satan bound in Abyss for 1000 years
12. The Judgment Seat of Christ 12. No time or place for Judgment Seat
13. Marriage of Lamb 13. His bride descends with Him
14. Only His own see Him 14. Every eye will see Him
15. Tribulation begins 15. 1000-year kingdom of Christ begins

taken from Revelation Unveiled, by Dr. Tim LaHaye

Daniels 70th Week [Lesson 10.6]

15 Aug

The last (70th) week of years as mentioned in Daniel 9 has not been fulfilled yet.  I believe that this last seven years are the events that are spelled out in Revelations which we call the Tribulation.  For the sake of discussion, this is the order of events that I want to discuss in the next two weeks. Remember to email me any questions on specific topics of this period that you want to discuss.  Toward the end of next week, I will go over the Thousand Year Reign of Christ and the events that will take place then.


[Time – Before the tribulation]

[HEAVEN] Opening of the seven sealed scroll (4:1-5:15

[EARTH] The Rapture (4:1)

Antichrist makes a peach agreement with Israel – Beginning of The Seven Year Tribulation (6:1 – 18:24)
[Time – 1st half (3 1/2 years) of the tribulation]
     Vision of the closed book (10:1-11)
     Measuring of the Temple (11:1-2)
     Prophecy of Christ’s future reign (11:15-19)
     The Seven Seal Judgments (6:1-17)
     The Seven Trumpet Jedgments (8:1-9:21)
     The Great Harvest 144,000 Jewish evangelists (7:1-17)
     The two witnesses (11:3-14)
     Babylon the mother of false religion destroyed (17:1-18)
[Time – 2nd half (3 1/2 years) of the tribulation]
     Vision of the sun-clad woman (12:1-17)
     Vision of the 144,000 saints and of the Judgment Day (12:1-17)
     Vision of the sea of glass around the throne (15:1-8)
     The Seven Bowl Judgments (16:1-21)
     Antichrist establishes self-worship (13:1-10)
     The False Prophet and the mark of the beast (13:11-18)
     Babylon the government and commercial capital destroyed (18:1-24)

Daniel’s Prophesy [Lesson 10.5]

12 Aug

In our study of Revelations, it is important to note that the end times are also talked about throughout the bible.  As far back as Daniel, the events of the end times are talked about.  In the Olivet discourse, Jesus referred to the prophecies of Daniel.  Not only does this support the biblical inerrancy argument, it gives us some indication of what events have happened already and what events are yet to happen. Let’s look at Daniel’s vision which begins with the 20th verse of Daniel 9, and see what has been fulfilled and what has yet to be fulfilled.

1. Jerusalem will be rebuild in times of trouble and then shortly after that the Anointed One would be cut off.

The commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem was given in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes (Neh 2:1-8) which was around 445 B.C. and the city was rebuilt in times of trouble. After another 434 years the Anointed One (Jesus) appeared precisely as prophesied.  Biblical scholars have calculated very carefully that exactly 483 years after the decree of Artaxerxes, Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem at the conclusion of His earthly ministry (Lk 19:28-38) Then, within a few days, He was "cut off" by the events of the crucifixion.

2.  The people of the coming ruler would destroy the city and the sanctuary after the Anointed One was cut off.

In 70 A.D. when the Roman army destroyed the city of Jerusalem it broke down its walls, burned the sanctuary and pried apart the very stones of which it was built. The Jewish nation thus ceased to exist as a sovereign nation. Its people were scattered to the ends of the earth.

3.  The coming ruler (Antichrist) will make a peace agreement with the Jewish people that will last for 7 years.  Halfway through, three and one-half years, he will break the agreement, stop Jewish religious practices.  He will set up a desecrating abomination in the temple until he himself is finally destroyed.


The events of the last seven years have yet to be fulfilled. Why has there been such a long time between the first two sections of the prophecy and the last?  Our textbook lays out a wonderful argument as to the reason for the separation.  You can read it but I’ll try to summarize.  God made it very clear to the nation of Israel as it entered into the Promised Land that obedience to His laws would bring benefits. He also stated clearly the evil that would follow His peoples’ disobedience.  So, the Israelites disobeyed and so God finally permitted His people to be dispersed from their land.   God then made the land desolate.  The Roman conquest scattered the people and the land was a desert until recently. So, we can assume that it was because of the Israelites’ disobedience that led to the break in the time frame that God established.  So, when will these last seven years take place?  Nobody knows for sure but there are signs that events are coming together nicely for the eventual fulfillment of the last part of Daniels prophesy.

a. Through a series of events that began around the first part of this century, God has recalled his people from the very ends of the earth (Isaiah 11:11-12). God used various means to gather them until eventually, in May 1948, the returned Jews proclaimed the birth of the modern state of Israel.

b. After Israel became a nation again, they stared rebuilding the ruined cities and live in them. They have created a beautiful land out of a desert fulfilling Isaiah 35:1-2. (Also Amos 9:14-15)

c. When the Jewish people started returning to Israel, the Palestinian’s, who had inhabited the land, were displaced to other Arab countries. This had caused a friction between them that will have future ramifications.



That brings us to our next subject, the "coming ruler" as mentioned in verse 26.  We’ll continue that tomorrow!


Why Worry About Tomorrow? [Lesson 10.4]

11 Aug
A wise man once said that we should plan ahead as though Jesus will not come for many years, and we should live as though He will come the next moment.
Sometimes I wonder why I’m even paying a mortgage.  If Christ is really coming soon, wouldn’t it just be easier to put off paying that mortgage?  I want my kids to go to college but if Christ is coming soon, why save for college?  Why even make long-term plans if Christ will return soon?  Maybe I should just go to the church and wait for Him to come.  I could even live there!  Pastor wouldn’t mind – would he?  I’d be ready though. I’d be the first one to see Jesus.  He will be proud of me since I was the first in line.  I can’t wait until He comes.  It will be awesome!

As Christians, we have a responsibility to remain active in His service until the very moment of His return.  1 Cor 15:58 [Amplified] states, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be firm(steadfast), immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord [always being superior, excelling, doing more than enough in the service of the Lord], knowing and being continually aware that your labor in the Lord is not futile [it is never wasted or to no purpose].”

Live Like You Were Dying [Lesson 10.3]

10 Aug
About a year ago, the country artist Tim McGraw released a song entitled “Live Like You Were Dying”.  The chorus of the song goes like this:
I can relate to this song.  You see, I don’t know how long I’m going to be around.  I have to think every day about how I live my life. I don’t want to waste a single moment.
I know I haven’t told most of you about this.  I’ve lived my whole adult life and haven’t told many people.  I sometimes get embarrassed talking about it.  I don’t want to waste people’s time.  I’m sure they are too busy to listen.  Maybe they won’t like me if I tell them. 
OK. So I’ll go ahead and tell you.  You might as well hear it.
I’m a Christian.  Jesus is coming back to this earth to take me, and everyone else who believes in him, with him.
You see, I am a sinner.  I don’t deserve to go to heaven with Jesus.  But, He came to this earth over 2,000 years ago and he was killed for our sins.  He was perfect but He said that He would die so we didn’t have to.  All we had to do was to put our faith in Him.  I did that a number of years ago and now, I know that when Jesus does come back, I’m going with him.  I don’t know when that will be but I am glad that I am ready.  I am sorry that I didn’t tell you sooner.  You too need to know Jesus. Please, accept His gift of salvation so you won’t be left when He comes.  Life on this earth will be extremely difficult after He comes.  In fact, you might not ever get another chance to accept HimDon’t wait!  Think about it and make a decision… but please don’t wait.
Now, where’s FuManChu.  I’m going for the whole 8 seconds!

What Is So Controversial About Revelations? [Lesson 10.2]

9 Aug
Whenever you start talking about Revelations, you are bound to come across someone who disagrees with you.  Very learned Bible scholars have book-long disagreements on what Revelations really means.  Some think it is purely symbolic. Some believe that the events described something that happened in the past. Some don’t even think it is real at all.  Even among those who agree that it is a prophecy about future events, they can’t agree on the timing of these events. Which will happen first, the tribulation or the rapture? If it is the tribulation, will the rapture occur in the middle of the tribulation or at the end?  It is sometimes ridiculous how Christians can disagree on so much!
One thing we do know, that because we believe in Jesus, we have the blessed hope, which is the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:11-14).  In our previous discussions, we learned that the Bible is without error. That God inspired men to write it but the whole Bible is God’s perfect Word.  If we accept that, then we know that the events described in Revelations are going to happen.  There are a lot of discussions on the details but here are a few things that I believe most scholars agree on:
1.  Jesus is returning to earth.
2.  There will be signs leading up to Christ’s return.
3.  All those who believed in Christ before they died will be raised to meet Jesus.
4.  All those still living and believe in Christ will be “raptured” to be with Jesus.
5.  There will be a period of tribulation which will be very difficult to live through.  Many people will die.
6.  Jesus will judge all people, believers and non-believers.  Even Satan.
7.  We will have to give an accounting of what we did with our lives.
8.  Everyone and everything that did not believe in Jesus prior to his final return will be condemned to indefinite suffering.
9.  Jesus will return and set up His kingdom on earth.
Here’s the important thing to remember.  The Bible tells us that Jesus return will happen like a thief in the night (1 Thess 5:1-3).  It is our obligation to always be ready.  It is also our obligation to tell others about accepting Jesus as their personal Savior so that they can be ready also.
Now is that so controversial?

Dealing With The Devil [Lesson 10.1]

8 Aug
Have you ever found yourself in a position where it seems like everything is going wrong? Days where you would swear that God left you to tend to someone else?  Ever just get tired of Satan’s endless spiritual attacks? The stressful days and sleepless nights?
I’ve been there.  I’m kind of there now.  I do not let it get me down though.  Do you know my secret?  I know the end of the story.  I read the back of the book.  I know how it ends. 
Do you know the secret? 
We Win!  We Win!  We Win!
I keep reminding myself what God tells us in Revelations 22:3-4, “No longer will anything be cursed. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him. And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads.”
The time is coming when God will deal with the source of all these problems.  The wicked will be judged and Jesus will take the righteous to be with Him in heaven.  That is how I deal with trials.  I know the ending.

A Tale Of Seven Churches [Lesson 9.3]

4 Aug

We know that churches are made up of a community of believers.  Let’s take a look at seven different communities that have existed.  Which can you identify?

1.  The Proud Church.  When this church first formed, it was one of the earliest churches in the area.  They loved Jesus and loved each other.  Over the years, the church grew and grew until it was the largest church around. The community became diluted and they lost their fire for Jesus. They were more proud of their importance instead of glorifying Christ. Their belief became half-hearted and indifferent.

2.  The Suffering Church.  This church was composed of poor people but their faith made them rich in Christ. In size, they were the opposite of the church above. Over time, they were subjected to persecution and many were martyred in Christ’s name. Through this, their faith became stronger.

3.  The Tolerant Church.  Even though this church faced persecution and martyrdom, they tolerated false teachings. The false teachings were the right of Christians to indulge in heathen immoralities. Although the leadership of the church wasn’t propagating these false teachings, they tolerated them in the congregation.  They were in a difficult spot as their location was in the center of an area that was referred to as Satan’s Throne.  Even though faithful, their tolerance of false teaching was dangerous to their faith.

4.  The Church of Compromise.  This church grew and grew and was faithful to a point. They had a false teacher as one of their pastors and tolerated both true teachings and also false teachings.  Not everyone tolerated the false teaching but they also thought that this pastor could help win over the whole city so they accepted the pastor into the church as an equal.

5.  The Dead Church.  This church was a church in name only. This church consisted of mostly wealthy believers.  After a while, it became more of a social club.  They gathered to be seen and not to glorify Christ.

6.  The Humble Church.  This church was always content to exemplify the Life of Jesus in the midst of a corrupt society.  These believers were lovers of God’s Word and intent on keeping it.  With any blessing that came their way, they gave Christ the glory.

7.  The Lukewarm Church.  This church built a beautiful temple with riches. They dressed to impress.  They were a church operating in the Name of Christ but all too evidently for the benefit and glorification of the people in control, with Christ Himself little in evidence.

I am sure that you may have recognized one or more of these churches. You may even have recognized yourself in one of these.  Do you want me to tell you where these churches are? 

John, in the book of Revelations wrote letters to seven churches.  It is believed that he sent the whole book of Revelations to each of these churches.  He chose these churches as a representation of a fair cross section of the churches of that generation.  In fact, in some degree, they represent churches in all generations.  Churches existing in varying degrees of Truth and falseness.  Churches humanized with worldly traditions.  Churches largely the product of its leadership, with varying proportions of faithful leaders and faithful members.  Indeed, many congregations today are a pitiful mixture of church and world, True and False.

If you read Revelations 2, you notice that of the seven churches, two were good: Smyrna and Philadelphia, two were very bad: Sardis and Laodicea, and three were part good and part bad: Ephesus, Pergamum, and Thyatira. 

Our examples should be the churches of Smyrna and Philadelphia.  Smyrna, the suffering church, was promised the “Crown of Life”. Where is it today? It has survived through all the centuries, it houses the second largest population of Turkey. It’s modern name is Iz-mir (1). Philadelphia became Amman and served as the ancient and modern capital of Jordan.(2)